By Morty Ain |
ESPN The Magazine
Go behind the scenes on the making of ESPN The Magazine's 2014 Body Issue featuring female boxer Danyelle Wolf.
"Bleed and sweat now so you don't have to in the fight." That's what I tell myself whenever it gets tough. I want to be dead-dog tired during my training session and I want to push myself because, when it comes to fight day, you want to push through all those mental blocks.
I picked up my first pair of boxing gloves just five or six years ago. When I started training to be a triathlete, people would stop me and ask if I was a fighter. One day some guy asked, "What gym do you fight out of? Because you have the build of a fighter." So I met him at a gym the next day, he showed me some punches and some basic combinations, and it was a very humbling experience. I said that day, right when I put those gloves on, "This is the sport I'm going all the way in on."
Boxing is like a blank canvas for me. I see it very much like my artwork. With a painting, it's what you put into it -- throwing all the paint on the canvas was eating healthy, strength training, cardio and going to all the tournaments. So when you're done, you get to stand back and look at your masterpiece and say, "Wow, I did that."
Weight: 152 pounds
I want to fight at the lightest weight I can possibly get. That's what the other half of the fight is in boxing: making weight and picking the right weight class.
I've been an athlete my whole life. Field hockey, basketball, track, soccer, softball, mountain biking - you name it, I did it. But I never really knew which one to buckle down and focus on.
At first, they told me I couldn't do it because I'm a girl. But I stuck with it. Now I'm a two-time USA Boxing national champion, continental champion and I'm on Team USA.
My first fights in San Diego were all knockouts. Then I went to LA to try to get fights. Even now, at the level I'm at now, girls are definitely intimidated by my height and build.
What I don't have control of is boxing experience. To make up for that lack of experience, I enter in every single boxing tournament that I can.
I am so obsessed with being self-disciplined. I'm very persistent; I don't stop until I get where I want to go.
Just because I'm a boxer doesn't mean I'm not educated and not pretty. That's people's image of female fighters -- that they're brute and rough -- and it's not true. I'm educated, I wear high heels and dresses, and I love style and fashion.
I love everything about my body. One of my pet peeves is when people say they hate something about their body. Why aren't you doing something about it if it bothers you so much?
That's what the other half of the fight is in boxing: making weight and picking the right weight class.`
Working out just depends on who I'm boxing. Sometimes that's just 2-3 hours. And on top of that I do my cardio, and that could be a 2-mile run of in-and-out sprints, interval training, bleachers, ladder drills for about an hour. I just recently started strength training, so I'm actually trying to put on even more muscle than what I already have.
If there was an Olympic sport that had every single sport in one, I would win. I know that for a fact. There's a pentathlon -- which has weird sports like horseback riding, fencing, 200-meter swim, 800-meter run and laser guns. I just learned this at USA Olympic camp. If they would pick sports like field hockey, basketball, track, boxing, soccer, softball, there is no way that anybody but me could win that event. My whole life I was always so well-rounded.
I hate social media. But I do enjoy taking pictures. I feel I have to be making something, inventing something, painting something, doing something that is actually going to be worthwhile the next day.